Youth mental health first aid trainings offered this fall

Iowa State University Extension

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to strengthen rural communities and support youth during the new school year.

Youth mental health remains at the forefront of many people’s minds. Over the last few years, youth mental health challenges have continued to rise. In response, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach continues to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to community members statewide.

This program provides adults with tools they can use to identify when a youth (ages 6-18) in their life might be struggling with a mental health and/or substance use problem.

“Research shows that half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and 75% begin by age 25. Recovery from mental illness is possible and likely, but the sooner a person receives appropriate treatment, the better the outcome,” said Demi Johnson, behavioral health program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.  

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer Youth Mental Health First Aid on Oct. 7 and Nov. 7, and both classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. via Zoom. All virtual classes require pre-registration and approximately two hours of pre-work. Private classes for groups of 15-30 participants are also available upon request.

The cost is $55. However, adults identifying as or working with farm families can register at no cost for any of these programs by using the code “AGPRO” when registering, thanks to current grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. To register, go to

Participants will learn how to connect youth to appropriate support and resources when necessary. A five-step action plan will be taught to guide participants through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“Everyone can benefit from taking a mental health first aid course. Learning more about mental health can help reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health problems. When we can recognize signs of trouble, we can help young people get the assistance they need,” said Johnson.

For more information, contact Demi Johnson at